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Three Poems
by Liang Yujing

Catkins

It is there, the lake, nobody around,
nor wind that breezes into an ear
the fragmented message of spring.

I dwell in that lone building, counting
the number of vehicles passing by
outside the window, on the periphery

of the campus, a dark and taciturn dyke
below: its float grass intertwines into
a net, wrapping up what is untold

and intangible. It snows and flakes
wallow under our feet, swelling into a fluffy ball.
They're catkins, you tell me, from a willow tree.

We loiter along the lakeside softened
by catkin-like snow or snow-like catkins,
not knowing how to start the talk

until an ivy-covered house bobs up
into our vision. It's Soviet style, you say
to me, an old name missing in white-outs.

So let them be catkins and the lake
be there: a translucent, murky, bold and solid
oblong shape I'm looking at on Google Earth.



The Woman Chopping

Ears alert, I heard the 'du-du-du'
of the woman chopping meat,
hurried, continuous, bone-chilling
sounds at every touch of her kitchen knife
and the chopping block, echoing
and straying in the humid dark air
of the alleyway to my dorm
at midnight.

The woman she was chopping
meat into minces to make patties
that I often bought during daytime
in her small storefront. A smiling face,
where wrinkles besieged
withered beauty.

I knew, too well, she did
no more than earning her living,
yet my younger mind still couldn't help
wondering that perhaps she sold patties
to ghosts. A murky alleyway, revelry
of people underground dancing and eating
with the clear, sudden sounds of 'du-du-du'
at midnight.

Strange enough that many years
after my graduation, the sounds often rose
into my ears whenever I passed through
a dark, lonely alleyway at midnight, as if
in one of the shut up storefronts
behind a dumb door
the woman were chopping
with hurried, clear sounds of
'du-du-du-du-du'
'du-du-du-du-du-du-du'



Proof

A friend of mine
from Thailand said
he was waterproof
  for the fact that

he had worked for three months
  underwater; another man,
Tokyo-based, tagged himself
  as earthquake-proof in that

he had survived that
  four times, big and small.
A woman of forty nine who
  had five ex-husbands

or more could easily
brag she's been man-proof
undoubtedly; I chuckled to them
  when I was asked

as to the same question.
  Normally and literally, I'm student-proof
while teaching, woman-proof
  while loving, propaganda-proof when watching

CCTV, and democracy-proof
  when voting, as well as poetry-proof
at any time I'm composing
a poem. They all laughed too,

jeering: you're self-proof,
  as you're bullshitting in every word.
'Shit!' an armyman cursed,
  his nationality unknown, grunting:

'I've been injured so many
times; brain-damaged, heart
-broken and cock-disabled, yet
never ever have I been bullet-proof at all.'



About the author:
Born in Changde, China, Liang Yujing completed an MA in American Literature in Wuhan University in 2007. He writes in both English and Chinese. Liang Yujing is now working as an English teacher in Hunan Business College, China.



© 2011 Word Riot

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Midnight Picnic
a novel by
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